Grey Vireo (Vireo vicinior)

Grey Vireo

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Vireonidae | [latin] Vireo vicinior | [UK] Grey Vireo | [FR] Vireo gris | [DE] Grauvireo | [ES] Vireo gris | [NL] Grijze Vireo


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

This plain, gray-backed vireo of arid mountains has a narrow white eye-ring but differs from other vireos with eye-rings by having no wing bars
or only one faint bar. Though drab, it has character, flopping its tail like a gnatcatcher.

Listen to the sound of Grey Vireo

[audio: Vireo.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 19 cm wingspan max.: 22 cm
size min.: 13 cm size max.: 15 cm
incubation min.: 13 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 13 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America, Middle America : Southwest USA, Northwest Mexico


Brushy mountain slopes, mesas, open chaparral, scrub oak, junipers. Breeds in dry thorn scrub, chaparral, pinyon-juniper and oak-juniper scrub, or sagebrush and mesquites of arid foothills and mesas, between 3,000-
6,500′ elevation. In winter, in northwest Mexico, found near coast in dry thorn scrub of elephant trees and giant cacti.


Male defends nesting territory by singing through much of breeding season.
Nest: Placed in shrub, frequently oak or juniper, 1-12′ from ground, but most commonly 2-8′ up. Nest is supported by the rim woven onto a horizontal forked twig, with the bottom of the nest hangin
g suspended in midair. Nest (built by both male and female) is a deep, rounded cup made of weeds, shreds of bark, grass stems, leaves, and plant fibers; bound with spider webs and lined with fine grass.
Eggs: 4, sometimes 3-5. Pinkish white with brown specks scattered near large end. Incubation by both parents, 13-
14 days. Cowbirds frequently lay eggs in nests of this species. Gray Vireos will sometimes deal with such parasitism by constructing second floor of nest over cowbird eggs.
Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest 13-14 days after hatching. 2 broods per year.

Feeding habits

Insects and fruits.
During the breeding season, feeds mostly on insects, including beetles, caterpillars, small moths, bugs, treehoppers, tree crickets, dobsonflies, cicadas, grasshoppers, and many others. In winter, eats many berries, especially those of elephant trees, in
addition to insects.
Behavior: Usually forages within 5′ of the grou
nd, moving about actively in brush on dry slopes, seeking insects on the twigs and among the foliage. Also does some foraging on the ground. In winter, individuals defend feeding territories, driving away others of their own kind.


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Grey Vireo status Least Concern


Southwestern United States to northwestern Mexico. Migration: A short-distance migrant, wintering mainly in northwestern Mexico, a few in southwestern Arizona.

Distribution map

Grey Vireo distribution range map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *